This time, I’m interviewing the Moderator for my Autistic Christians Facebook group, Steve Condrey.
1. What is your denomination? How long have you been a Christian?
I am officially a Baptist (my baptism was through a Southern Baptist-affiliated church), but I see myself as a nondenominational progressive. I first professed Christ as my Savior in October 1982, and while I may not have been the most faithful of believers, I have never once stopped believing and acknowledging Christ’s lordship.
2. What was your childhood like?
My parents were believers, but for the most part not actively churchgoing. They stopped going to church regularly once the church started getting heavily involved in politics. My parents were tough-minded, no-nonsense people. Dad was a Marine and mom was a floor nurse–two professions notorious for not taking nonsense from anyone. They were however, very fair-minded and even though they didn’t know any more about autism spectrum issues in the 1970’s and 1980’s they did their best. Frequently they did much better than the professionals recommended!
3. How did you meet your wife?
I met my wife offline in 2003 when Yahoo Personals was still in business. It is the first marriage for both of us after a lot of very dysfunctional relationships.
4. When were you diagnosed? Have your children been diagnosed as well?
I was diagnosed in April 2008, shortly after being placed with our son. The challenges of marriage were more than enough to stress my usual coping mechanisms beyond the limit; parenthood only made the situation more stressful. After a series of referrals, I ended up with an excellent neuropsychologist who pinned the problem down in a single office visit! My son (adopted and no genetic relation to me at all) was formally diagnosed this year; we had suspected he was on the spectrum, and some of the people who worked with him back in California thought so as well but the diagnosis was always considered of secondary or lower importance compared to his severe ADHD. My daughter is so far as we know neurotypical but still very bright.
5. What is your job?
I am a quality system manager with the US FDA. I have worked for the FDA since May 1994, starting as an office clerk and working my way up to become a field investigator and then into my current position.
6. What evidence can you give for God’s existence?
“Evidence” is a sticky term because evidence depends on interpretation. What I see as clear evidence of the influence of God in the universe, someone else may see as evidence of natural laws operating without any kind of intelligence behind them. For example, the ordering of all the elements in the universe into a periodic table that accurately predicts their physical and chemical properties, or the fact that our universe can be described by mathematical rules, speak to me as evidence of God’s existence. I have had certain personal experiences that have led me to acknowledge Jesus Christ as my Savior, but those experiences are mine alone. It ultimately comes down to a matter of faith. My belief in God is axiomatic: it is a fundamental for the universe as I see it.
7. What is your favorite Bible verse?
Romans 8:28: “And we know this: that all things work together for the good of those who love God and who are called according to His purpose.”
8. Who are your favorite Bible figures besides Jesus?
I have a couple: Joseph of the Old Testament, who through God’s strength overcame the betrayal of his brothers to rise to a position where he could save the same family that sold him into slavery–and forgave them nonetheless. John the Baptist also comes to mind: he was the most gifted preacher and prophet Israel had ever known, but he knew that his entire life was only for one purpose: to announce the coming of One greater than him. That requires humility in abundance! Yet he never felt diminished by all of this the way many people would. He executed his mission and someday in the Kingdom, I think he and I will have much to talk about.